Making a Merger Sausage: Update on American, US Airways

In case you were wondering how large airlines go about the business merging and the thousands of changes large and small included in such an undertaking, let’s just say it’s not unlike making a sausage. Here is the latest on the proposed union between American and US Airways which was announced, appropriately enough, back on Valentine’s Day.

Hear airfare analyst Rick Seaney get to the meat of the matter:

American, US Airways Merger: Winners, Losers

US Airways, United Codeshares Disappear Jan. 1

One of the bigger changes I see coming involves US Airways. At the moment, it is a member of the Star Alliance airline partnership which also includes United Airlines (American is a member of the Oneworld partnership along with British Airways, Qantas and more).

According to the huge volume of flight data that crosses my desk each day, as of January 2014, many of the codeshare flights that US Airways and United currently team up for will go away. This represents about a million tickets flown last year according to our analysis of figures from the government’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Passengers May Get Fewer Non-stops

What this means for passengers starting next year is fewer non-stops.

  • US Airways passengers will lose about 540 non-stop routes flown by codeshare partner United
  • United passengers will lose about 250 non-stop routes flown by codeshare partner US Airways

Example: Say I am a loyal United flyer and I want to travel from New York’s LaGuardia to Boston. Next year, I’d be out of luck for a non-stop. I’d have four alternatives:

  • Hope that United hooks up with another carrier to provide these non-stops
  • Hope that United starts flying this non-stop route itself
  • Resign myself to flying this route on another carrier
  • Resign myself to staying loyal and enduring the inconvenience of a connecting flight

At this point we don’t know for sure exactly how it will play out. All we know is change is coming.

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Published: April 26, 2013